Wednesday, May 23, 2018

The Thrilling Incompleteness of the Journey

I read a reflection by Saint Augustine this morning and he's been on my mind ever since.  While there are a multitude of worthy quotations and many writings about him—to say nothing of his own Confessions…I return time and again to the line I once heard in a class.  It was one of those ringers: a line you hear that doesn’t ever really leave you, a line with the lasting reverb of truth for you and a resonance that stays swirling in your rafters.

Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.

A funny representation of this truth is made known when I see the other two books keeping me company as I type here on the fourth floor of the public library:  Pilgrimageby Annie Leibovitz (AL) and A Writer’s Diary: Being Extracts from the Diary of Virginia Woolf (VW). Something I was reading earlier today about the color blue led me to those two books.  In flipping through them, I felt the warm dawn of sense-making. Augustine-Leibovitz-Woolf-King…yes, of course.

There is text to accompany the photos in the AL mid-size coffee table book.  For it, she traveled to the textures of life and place for the likes of Emily Dickinson, Charles Darwin, Marian Anderson, Georgia O’Keeffe, Martha Graham, and many others and saw this geographic facet of their truth through her lens—literally and figuratively both.  She wanted to be there, to see, examine, sink into…in some ways, remove the barrier.  Totally cool. And, glory, I get it.  To be so close to something that believing we might become a part of it—or perhaps already are—seems not impossible.  The desire to do that… It is an extraordinary intimacy, a longing…a longing to connect with what is most essential or fundamental…A pilgrimage. 

In her diary entry of 30 June, 1927, VW describes her experience of a solar eclipse two days prior:  
we joined them, walking out to what seemed the highest point looking over Richmond.  One light burned down there.  Vales and moors stretched slope after slope, round us.  It was like the Haworth country.  But over Richmond, where the sun was rising, was a soft grey cloud.  We could see by a gold spot where the sun way.  But is was early yet.  We had to wait, stamping to keep warm…There were thin places in the clouds and some complete holes…We saw rays coming through the bottom of the clouds.  Then, for a moment, we saw the sun, sweeping—-it seemed to be sailing at a great pace and clear in a gap; we had our smoked glasses; we saw it crescent, burning red; next moment it had sailed from fast to the cloud again; only the red streamers came from it; then only a golden haze…

 And on it wondrously goes for pages.  The detail, the intimate description in Word.  The desire to put it down in language on a page so that this nearness to something that cosmic could be experienced anew; entered into a-new…

And then there is the conversation I had the other day with someone about “The More” of Saint Ignatius.  To seek it, long for it… Part of the conversation—at least internally—I honestly can’t remember if I spoke this aloud—was me thinking about how that longing for the More has elements of both here and now and there and tomorrow. Sometimes we need to go to find it, sometimes we need to stay and learn to see the fulfillment of our longing exactly where we are.   That there is More, however…no doubt.  That there is within me an insatiable curiosity, wonder, desire, for that bigger image of God…oh my soul, YES.  Do I long for that fullness of knowledge, being, and glory?  More than anything, yes…   
In the thrilling incompleteness of the journey, I reach…for others, for lens, for pen, for art, for work, for listening, for learning, for ways of growing in freedom and grace, for sharing, for love…as ways of drawing that much closer…to the Heart of all, to the Centre, to the Essential Inspiration,  the Origin and End, that is You.   Yes, my Heart will be restless and longing…until it rests in you.

No comments: